Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yanks Knock Sox Off, Will Honor Mandela

On Sunday night after the finale of the 4-game Yanks-Sox series, and all day Monday, I forgot to blog about it.

Good thing I'm not subject to a baseball team's "kangaroo court."

The conclusion of the series featured Ivan Nova starting against Felix Doubront. Nova had gotten shelled in his last outing, and needed a rebound effort. He provided it, allowing single runs in the 2nd and 6th innings, pitching into the 8th.

The Yankees trailed 1-0 with 1 out in the bottom of the 3rd, when Brett Gardner singled, and Carlos Beltran smacked a home run, his 3rd of the season.

Then came the bottom of the 4th. Brian McCann led off with a walk, and Doubront walked Yangervis Solarte as well. Kelly Johnson grounded to 2nd, forcing out Solarte but allowing himself to reach 1st and McCann to reach 3rd. Francisco Cervelli came up, and grounded to Ryan Roberts, the Sox 3rd baseman. Roberts threw to 2nd, and was called out, but McCann scored. Joe Girardi appealed the play at 2nd, and the call was overturned.

Sox manager John Farrell argued a little too hard, and was thrown out of the game. But his attempt was understandable, because in Yanks-Sox games, you never know when 1 run is going to make the difference, either as the decider or as the momentum-shifter. And, sure enough, the final score was, indeed, Yankees 3, Red Sox 2.

WP: Nova (2-1). SV: Shawn Kelley (3 -- can we start calling him Shutdown Shawn yet?). LP: Doubront (1-2).


So, going into April 15, Jackie Robinson Day, with 149 games (24 weeks) left in the regular season, the AL East standings look like this:
NY Yankees76.538-
Tampa Bay77.5000.5

Boston's elimination number is 148, Baltimore's 149. Being in a 3-way tie for first, the Yankees, Toronto and Tampa Bay don't have elimination numbers.

Today, the Yankees were supposed to begin a 2-game Interleague series with the Chicago Cubs. However, today's game has already been postponed due to rain. Instead, due to the constraints of Interleague play, they'll play a day/night, separate-admission doubleheader tomorrow.

In connection with Jackie Robinson Day (today, but delayed to tomorrow due to the rain), the Yankees are dedicating a Plaque for Monument Park, honoring the June 21, 1990 visit to the old Yankee Stadium of Nelson Mandela, who died this past December at age 95.

His grandson, Zondwa Mandela, is scheduled to attend, as are Jackie's widow and daughter, Rachel and Sharon, Commissioner Bud Selig, former Mayor David Dinkins, and entertainment legend Harry Belafonte, who worked with Jackie in the civil rights era and was among the leaders of the movement to pressure South Africa's apartheid government to release Mandela.

This is unusual, but not unprecedented: The Yankees have honored non-Yankees in Monument Park before, including Jackie Robinson, the 9/11 victims and rescuers, and the 3 visits to the old Stadium by Popes.

When Mandela came to New York, he got a ticker-tape parade up Broadway, and in that parade he wore a Yankee cap and a Yankee jacket -- although, as a boxer in his youth, he was much more likely to have known Yankee Stadium as the place where Joe Louis struck a blow against prejudice in 1938, by knocking out Max Schmeling, the unwilling stand-in for Nazi Germany.

When the rally for Mandela was held at the Stadium, he told the crowd, "You know who I am. I am a Yankee."

And now, he's a Yankee forever.

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